LuAnn's Tomato-Pepper Jack Soup

For several years, my daughter worked near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Whenever I visited, eating at Isaac’s, a local restaurant/deli chain, was a "must" and I always ordered a big bowl or their "famous" Pepperjack Tomato Soup. Unfortunately, Lancaster was a full day’s drive from our home! Unfortunately, a Google search did not turn up an authentic recipe (though there were many clones – a testimony to the soup’s popularity)! This is my own version and, when I can’t visit Isaac’s, it’s the next best thing! Easy too!

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A batch of this delicious soup goes fast at our house! Consider making a double batch; but do see the Note before reheating.

Ingredients

Soup

  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (I used Dei Fratelli brand seasoned diced tomatoes)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Roasted Garlic or Mushroom base
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (depending on the variety of diced tomatoes used)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or Half-and-Half
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack (spicier!) cheese, grated
  • (Additional red hot sauce, red pepper (cayenne), crushed red or hot pepper paste, if more spiciness is desired)

Garnish/Accompaniments

  • Buttered croutons or saltine/oyster crackers

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat, whisk in the flour, then cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Whisk in the water, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon paste, sugar and basil; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to low and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, then stir in the grated cheese until melted. Finally, stir in the heavy whipping cream.
  4. Serve hot, with croutons or crackers, if desired.

Note: If reheating the soup, do so over low heat; boiling will likely cause the cheese to curdle.

Yield: about 8 cups

Recipe by LuAnn Bermeo, author of Amazing Meals I and II, a two-volume collection of family-approved, plant-based recipes; based on my remembrance of Isaac’s Pepperjack Tomato Soup.

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